woensdag 24 augustus 2016

Viking Warrior Rebel - Asa Maria Bradley

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Published: October 2016

ISBN: 9781492618874

She can’t let him discover… Immortal Vikings are among us

Astrid Irisdotter is a Valkyrie—a fierce warrior fighting to protect humanity from the evil god Loki and his brutal minions. She’s on an urgent mission for her queen when everything goes hideously sideways. Undercover agent Luke Holden arrives on the scene just in time to save her life—and put his own on the line.

Luke may have saved her, but that doesn’t mean Astrid can trust him. Tempers flare as they hide secret upon secret from each other, but Astrid’s inner warrior knows what it wants…and it will not take “no” for an answer.  

My review
Immortal and very independent woman - check. Good looking guy with dark secret - check. Ugly and scary monsters to fight - check. Unexpected feelings and sexual tension - check. Well... Asa Maria Bradley has certainly all the ingredients to make a very appealing story. And she has one brewing here. Since I haven't read the first part of this series (Viking Warrior Rising), I don't know if the first one is as good as the second one. But Astrid is one fierce, yet funny character. 

She is on a mission to retrieve the brother of her queen from a hospital. Since she has failed on her last assignment, she is determined to not fail her queen again. What she didn't expect, was to run into the good looking Luke Holden. She had a fling with him, but he disappeared after one night of (well, let's just say they didn't get a lot of sleep). So, naturally, Astrid is not very excited to meet him yet again. However, when Luke saves her life from some ugly looking minions of Loki, she has some explaining to do. But how do you explain that you lived for hundreds of years and that you are not totally normal? Well, you kind of stretch the truth a bit. "I was born in Sweden. Almost a thousand years ago, but a woman didn't discuss her age.

But since Luke has some secrets of his own, Astrid and Luke have a lot of difficulties in trusting one another. "Apparantly Mr. We-Need-An-Honest-Talk wasn't all the chatty when he was the one responsible for sticking to the truth"
So the tension is through the roof. Take into account a jealous viking and we have some fireworks. The story unfolds nicely, yet suprisingly, so you just keep on reading.

A very good read. Four out of five stars for Viking Warrior Rebel. With special thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. And now I'll have to go find part one to read.

maandag 22 augustus 2016

Thieving Weasels - Billy Taylor

Publisher: Dial Books

Published: August 2016

ISBN: 9780525429241

Skip O’Rourke is dragged into one last con . . . but he doesn’t know the con’s on him in this funny, page-turning debut YA for fans of Winger and Ocean’s Eleven.

Cameron Smith attends an elite boarding school and has just been accepted to Princeton University alongside his beautiful girlfriend, Claire. Life for Cameron would be perfect, except that Cameron Smith is actually Skip O’Rourke, and Skip O’Rourke ran away from his grifter family four years ago…along with $100,000 of their “earnings” (because starting a new life is not cheap). But when his uncle Wonderful tracks him down, Skip’s given an ultimatum: come back to the family for one last con, or say good-bye to life as Cameron.

“One last con” is easier said than done when Skip’s family is just as merciless (and just as manipulative) as they’ve always been, and everyone around him is lying. Skip may have given up on crime, but there’s one lesson he hasn’t forgotten: always know your mark. And if you don’t know who your mark is . . . it’s probably you.

Witty and irresistibly readable, this standout debut will always keep you guessing.

My review
It will not be easy to classify this debut from Billy Taylor. Is Thieving Weasels a YA, Humor, Romance (you have got to admit: committing a crime to keep your girlfriend is pretty romantic, isn't it?) or Crime Fiction? No matter the category, this book is funny and surprisingly easy to read. The characters are funny (especially Vinnie, he is just the prototype of a dumb wannabe mobster. Fortunately the whole family agrees), the story is fast paced and the plot keeps unfolding. I can see the slapstick musical coming from this story. The whole story is about the family O'Rourke, who take pleasure in deceiving and conning their way through life. They scam insurances, neighbours and easy targets. Skip O'Rourke managed to escape his family and start a new life as Cameron Smith. He has a perfect life, a pretty girlfriend and a bright future. That is, until uncle Wonderful drags him back into the 'family business' for one last con. But since everybody is lying to everybody, the actual job and the implications just keep getting fuzzier and fuzzier. In all a fun read, with lots of chuckles along the way. Four stars for this debut. And keep an eye out for the film.

donderdag 4 augustus 2016

A Very Jaguar Christmas - Terry Spear

Publisher: SOURCEBOOKS Casablanca

Published: October 2016

ISBN: 9781492621805

There are all kinds of surprises under the mistletoe!

As a protector of all jaguar-kind, Guardian agent Demetria MacFarlane isn’t surprised to get a call near Christmas—but when she’s sent to protect a cub whose species she didn’t even know existed, her holiday season gets complicated. And it doesn’t help that her partner is a distraction of the hottest kind.

Hotshot JAG agent Everett Anderson can handle dangerous poachers and wildlife traffickers, no problem…but kids? Everett fears he’ll be stuck cub-sitting under the Christmas tree, but working with one sexy Guardian she-cat may be the best present he’s ever gotten.  

My review
Since I was already into the hot and yummy shape-shifters of Paige Tyler (SWAT-series, with Werewolf shape-shifters), the Jaguar kind of Terry Spear sounded very appealing. And indeed, I was not disappointed.
You take a nosedive into the story of JAG agent Everett Anderson, with a mission going terribly wrong. His good friend and partner Matt dies in a rescue mission to save a young jaguar shape-shifter from a kidnapper. So you immediately are feeling sympathy for both Everett and Demetria, Matt's girlfriend at the time. 

The most funny thing about the story is the fact that the whole jaguar society is getting riled up, when a shape-shifter child is dropped at the nursery. The child doesn't shift into a jaguar, but into a wolf cub. Well, that's something strange. They didn't know this species exists. I mean, how funny is this? The jaguars are trying to hide from mankind and suddenly they are not alone in this world of 'strange' species. I found it hilarious.

The rest of the story, where Everett and Demetria get stuck together to solve the mystery of the little (very cute) cub and their mutual attraction is well written. The story builds up nicely and there are a few plot turns, so the whole story isn't totally predictable. It's a nice and relaxing read, especially for during the Christmas Holidays. Everett's family is very funny and those characters give a nice depth in the story. 
So, if you believe in shape-shifters, in any kind, the story is totally believable. If not: well, it still is a nice read. Sit back, grab a mug of hot cocoa and enjoy.
Four out of five stars from me.